Urlacher: Replacing Kiffin with Marinelli made Cowboys better


Monte Kiffin is the father of the Tampa-2 defense, but demoting Kiffin may be the path for the Cowboys’ defense to get better running the Tampa-2.

That’s the word from Brian Urlacher, the former Bears linebacker who says that the Cowboys made the right call by promoting Rod Marinelli ahead of Kiffin as the top defensive coach on the staff. Urlacher played for Marinelli for three years in Chicago and says that Marinelli is the coach who will get the defense running the way it’s supposed to run.

“They’re going to be better because last year they were so bad,” Urlacher said on FOX Sports. “They didn’t run any Cover-2 last year. Monte Kiffin was calling the defense, it wasn’t my man Rod Marinelli, who is going to be calling the defense this year, so it will be a lot of Cover-2.”

The Cowboys’ defense should get better this year if for no other reason than regression to the mean: Last year the Cowboys gave up more yards and more first downs than any other team in the NFL. A defense as bad as Dallas’s almost has to get better.

But with DeMarcus Ware gone in free agency and Sean Lee out for the year with a knee injury, it won’t be easy for the Cowboys to improve significantly. Dallas fans have to hope Urlacher is right, and Marinelli is a much better coach than Kiffin.

58 responses to “Urlacher: Replacing Kiffin with Marinelli made Cowboys better

  1. Urlacher has always loved him some Marinelli. Which is fine, except that you need a lot of talent to effectively run the Tampa 2, and the Cowboys ain’t got it.

    Anyone who saw the Bears try to run Lovie’s scheme last year with bargain-basement players at almost every position knows exactly what I’m talking about.

  2. everyone figured out how to beat the Tampa 2 years ago. It leaves huge gaps/seams between the corners and the deep safeties. It makes the corners look bad at the point where they release to the safeties. It will fall apart when you flood any area like sending 2 WR’s and a fast tight end into an area. Then you need to cover a WR with a linebacker and better get to the QB instantly. It really only works today if you have elite athletes at the safeties, linebackers and defensive ends. Few teams can afford truly elite players at all these positions today. It is great defense if your planned ceiling is 8-8. It’s time is past.

  3. We’ll see if he’ll be better, but it darn sure couldn’t get worse. With D-Ware, we were still ranked dead LAST in the NFL defensively. Which is, of course, Romo’s fault.

  4. The Minnesota Vikings will have the best defensive in the NFL under Defensive Guru Mike Zimmer who’s never not had a top 5 defense in their life


    2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 with the Cowboys

    2007 with the Falcons

    2008 and 2009 with the Bengals

  5. Kiffin lost his edge when he left the league to help out his son, but I’m not sure that the HC of the 0-16 Lions is an upgrade. Can we bet “PUSH”?

  6. Is the Cover – 2 “outdated” ?? Why yes, every team has seen it thousands of times and know how to beat it. Now for the shocker, EVERY SINGLE NFL TEAM RUNS IT at sometime . It is in every NFL teams defense’s playbook , just like the cover -3 and the dreaded “prevent ” defense . Good DC’s use mixed schemes to confuse offenses, when DC’s have great personal, he doesn’t have to do that. Marinelli will be mixing his schemes

  7. Uh, yeah a team can get worse even when they were last in something, like team defense.

    They can give up more yards, more points and finish further away from 2nd to last.

    Not saying the Cowboys defense will get worse, but yes a person or a team can get worse even when they are last or were in last place.

  8. And….I failed to add that Marinelli has had what most supposed experts called “dream teams” on defense over the last decade wherever he has been….and he has wet the bed with almost all of them.

  9. if your the worse last year and your the worse this year that is technically no improvement. you may suck less but your still the worse…

  10. And….(I know, I know) some of the better defensive coordinators teams crapped the bed for the most part, when they got a HC gig. Zimmer’s overseeing the team now, not coaching the D.

    – B. Ryan
    – R. Rhodes
    – R. Marinelli
    – L. Smith
    – J. Del Rio
    – D. Capers
    – J. Haslett
    – M. Nolan
    – L. Frazier
    – R. Crennel

    Noting that Leon Lett is currently on the Dallas defensive coaching staff….that team is utterly screwed. I have shoelaces smarter than that cat.

  11. Marinelli will likely do a better job of adapting the defense to his current personnel which didn’t happen much last season under Kiffin. Last year was a big transition for the defense so it should seem more familiar to them this year and show up as playing with more confidence.

  12. The Cover-2 is no better or worse than any other defensive scheme. It’s execution, there isn’t a defensive scheme that doesn’t require pressuring the QB and there isn’t a DC with a job that doesn’t want turn overs. Judas Priest it isn’t rocket surgery.

  13. Is your MLB a box player or is he good in coverage and do you have four line me that get pressure constantly. It’s always the Jimmies and the Joes not the X’s and the O’s.

  14. @ thepftpoetisacrossdresser , I disagree with the part of your statement where you say Marinelli “wet his pants” when he had “dream team” defenses and “failed”. His seasons with the Bears were good. When his defenses were bad , it was strictly due to massive injury , too many players simply got hurt and the depth was too thin. When his defense was healthy, the Bears defense was among the league leaders . He is a good DC , but without talent and depth, you can’t make a silk purse with a sow’s ear

  15. all this talk about defenses and Tampa-2 and Cover-2 and Spider wide right 3 banana is borderline hilarious if not downright pathetic….grown men for the most part(including me) analyzing football like it was molecular biochemistry…all this crap of quarterbacks reading defenses and calling audibles and geniuses in playcalling and all this bullcrap forget that once the ball is snapped a qb has maybe 1.8 seconds to make a decision and release the ball…and he is going to make his reads and go through progressions and “take the top of the defense” and all this nonsense when basically he already knows who he will throw it to when he gets under center and then if something happens he throws to whomever is open…why do football coaches and certain segments of the population like to make this more complicated than it is? pretty simple game and frankly more games are lost because of players trying to remember some idiotic defensive or offensive number or coding system instead of just playing…I mean it’s like saying Nick Saban is a genius at coaching….nahh…I could win paying the players that much money and that much talent

  16. Me being a Cowboys fan I see us going 8-8 again…but in the NFL world who knows anything is possible hopefully Romo will last all season Ugh

  17. wryly1 says: Jul 17, 2014 11:43 AM

    When your the worst defense in the league, there’s no other way to go but up.

    Not true- you can easily REMAIN the worst defense in the league.

  18. The sad part was, Jerry didn’t replace Kiffin due to performance, he just wanted another 75 year old buddy to play shuffleboard with every afternoon.

  19. Masher1965
    …It is in every NFL teams defense’s playbook , just like the cover -3 and the dreaded “prevent ” defense …
    I don’t think you’re allowed to say “prevent” defense anymore. In the early 90’s, I think the NFL passed a rule that “prevent defense” was to be renamed “Tom Olivadotti’s Base Defense” or “Prevent the Win” defense for short.
    We’ll let it slide this time, just be careful.

  20. Losing Sean Lee is huge. That guy was a terror on the field. He won’t be easily replaced.

    As a Detroit fan, I have a deep hatred for Rod (0-16) Marinelli and I’m not convinced he could get a defense to line up properly for a lunch break.

    If you guys can win shoot-outs, you’ve got a shot. Your defense won’t be winning any games for you.

  21. I have no doubt the Marinelli is the better coordinator….but with the personnel we have to choose from, and losing Ware and Lee, I don’t see there being a big difference. Our wins will probably come from surviving shootouts or mistakes by the other team.

  22. Any team that thought they could employ the Tampa-2 in an era with QB’s that are more mobile and TE’s are no longer just occasional pass-catching blockers should fail miserably.

  23. Can’t wait until September, when all the mouths stop flapping. The Cowboy’s may not win, but I love the way they get under the skin of others. Most hated/loved and talked about team. It’s like that envy thing…

  24. With the type of talent (or lack of) we have on our defense the key to maximizing its performance will be finding a way to put the players in a scheme that gives them the best chance to succeed. It would take a truly imaginative,innovating defensive coaching staff to do that. When I look at our defense coaching I do not see this do you? If that’s the case we will need to light it up offensively to stand a chance to have a winning season and no lead will be secure. Stock up on your antacids it’s going to be that kind of year again. If Romo goes down turn out the lights the party is over.

  25. It’s time for Kiffen to think more about playing golf, but he is one cool dude. I was a flight from LA to Tampa…wearing my usual Bucs polo…and Monte came aboard. We caught eyes and he said…”There’s a Bucs fan.” I told him “How are you coach…we miss you in Tampa.” Wouldn’t you know it, during the flight, he actually came up and talked to me for about a 10 minutes, just about football…a total stranger but clear fan. What was really funny is I was sitting next to this very well know actress, who I didn’t recognize at all until someone said her name. When Monte left, I told her “Hey that was the DC for the Cowboys and Bucs…”. She looked at me like she was made I didn’t know who she was, and said “I don’t follow sports” as about 5 others asked for her autograph.

  26. I wasn’t aware Urlacher ever played for Monte Kiffin. Looking back, he didn’t, so basically that an unfair comment if he actually said Rod Marinelli is better than Monte Kiffin. He may have said the Cowboys defensive should be better with Rod Marrinelli running the show and not have mentioned Kiffin by name. Kiffin mentored Marinelli at TB. They both play the same Tampa 2 defense. They both are high quality gentlemen. They both offer encourage to their players. They both like to teach their players. The biggest difference is the Marinelli has a little more rah rah in him and animation to him. In Urlacher mind maybe that makes him better. To me, one is the extension of the other. I have faith in both men.

  27. No one ‘figured out’ the Tampa 2 defense, I’ve been a bears fan for 30 years, it relies on QB’s to make mistakes, if a quarterback is on fire it has no chance, I would think it will work with RGMe in there division

  28. Nobody knows the Cowboys better than me and trust me this team is in big trouble this year! The offense will have to score 40 points each game because the defense will give up points in bunches, the Cowboys will be 5-11 this year but greener pastures are on the way in 2015.

  29. Wow! How pray tell do you expect this big turn around to occur in 2015? We are in deep trouble when it comes to salary cap and age is starting to rear it’s ugly head at some key positions. Frankly, I think if things turn ugly this year Jerry will throw a fit and heads will roll starting with Jason Garret and those closest to him. Tuff to see a better team coming out of this turmoil but I guess anything is possible. Let’s pray. I want the record to show I have serious doubts.

  30. pd9971 says:

    Nobody knows the Cowboys better than me and trust me this team is in big trouble this year!

    And you’re expertise and inside knowledge comes from where? There is no serious data that shows this team capable of less than 10 wins this year. Please post your sources for this incredible knowledge.

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